Julia started ballet and T-ball this week – her first 3-year old activities. Her Suzuki piano lessons begin tomorrow.
I’m beginning to realize that turning three is a pretty big deal.
Jules has been involved in activities since she was 3 months old – activities with names that begin with “Kinder” or are some variation of the word combination Mommy, Baby or Me. Whether she was swimming, tumbling or getting a jump start to learning, I was an integral part of the process. I was there, supporting her, guiding her and doing it with her. And it was grand. It was mothers and children, dancing, spinning, laughing, sharing, holding hands and celebrating life. But now, she is turning three and that has changed everything. She’s a strong enough swimmer that they don’t need me to get in the water with her. There isn’t room for me to stand with her on the field. My presence is no longer a benefit – it is a distraction.
My heart tore in two when I heard those words from the ballet teacher, “Parents! You are not allowed in the studio! Your presence is a distraction to the students. If you’d like to watch the class, there is a video camera running. You can watch the class on the television in the waiting room.” And so, seventeen parents rushed into the 12×12 waiting room, squeezing, pushing, and straining to see their princess on the little screen.
Julia wasn’t hard to find. She was the bouncy one. The one that, when the teacher walked around helping the kids get into their positions, walked after her, straightening arms and adjusting feet, too. The one that had to run out into the waiting room about fifteen minutes into the class to declare, “Mommy! I’m doing it! I’m doing ballet!” I was the parent who was crying.
She wasnâ€™t hard to spot on the T-ball field either. She was the one that was forcing team members to wear her glove as a hat. The one that raised her arms over her head, bounced and yelled, â€œGood job,â€ to each of her friends as they took their turn at bat, rather than getting the ball. And she was the smallest one on the field. I was the parent on the sideline, taking pictures and reviewing the Spectator Code of Conduct they handed out to us at the start of practice.
A Spectator Code of Conduct.
Do you know why they have that? Because somewhere, sometime there was a spectator or spectators that broke each of the conduct rules, so they had to tell us, in print, that we aren’t allowed to scold our children for making mistakes or yell at the coaches or become violent.
The parents at 3-year old activities are not dancing. There is no spinning. We do not hold hands. Geez, I wish we would, though. I think letting go would be a whole lot easier if there were a warm hand to hold on to.